Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, North Carolina
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass, ESPN
The Charlotte Hornets have lead many close games over the course of the season. However, similar to last season, they haven’t been able to finish those games and they end up as disappointing losses. However, the Hornets did manage to close out their last game, a 104-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Now, the Hornets shift their focus to a big game against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Having Kemba Walker back was a good sign for the Hornets against Orlando. Now, the All-Star point guard will have to continue his success against the Warriors. Golden State has won four straight and six of their last seven games. Their most recent win against the Pelicans featured a 20 point comeback and an unfortunate injury.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry rolled his ankle while trying to go for a steal at the end of the game. While the X-Ray’s came back negative, Curry will not play in what would’ve been his return to his hometown of Charlotte. Despite his absence, the Warriors still have their all-star cast of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant.
With or without Curry, this game is still the most difficult game of the season for the Hornets. It will test the weak points of the team, especially since the Warriors are a great second half team. The defense has to stay disciplined and most importantly they have to rebound as a team. If there is one thing the Hornets can hang their hat on in this game, it is rebounding.
I’m interested to see how the Hornets match-up against a pseudo-death lineup from the Warriors (since Steph Curry is out for the game). Will the Hornets go small to match-up or stick with either Dwight Howard or Cody Zeller at center? In addition to this, the second unit has to keep up with the Warriors second unit. Steve Kerr uses at least one of his all-stars in the second unit most of the time so the Hornets have to keep up.
Additionally, it was announced this morning that head coach Steve Clifford will be away from the team for “the immediate future” as he recovers from an undisclosed illness. We’ll have more on this later, but associate head coach Stephen Silas will take over as head coach again.
Overall, beating this Warriors team is a tough ask even when the greatest shooter on the planet isn’t playing. However, if the Hornets can hang around long enough, they’ll have a chance to steal the game in the Spectrum Center. A low amount of turnovers will help since the Warriors live off of forcing turnovers and getting out on the break. In the end, this match-up should be an entertaining one if the Hornets turn in an efficient performance.